Remnants of Singapore’s Lost Roads – Lorong Bistari

map of choa chu kang 1988

Lorong Bistari was one of the numerous roads that were expunged in the late eighties and early nineties due to the development of Choa Chu Kang New Town (Choa Chu Kang North, or Yew Tee today) and the expansion of the Kranji army camps.

The remaining 50m stretch of Lorong Bistari, off Choa Chu Kang Way, is still visible today, although it is no longer listed in most modern maps and street directories. The defunct road, along with its several old lamp posts, has been gradually forgotten. Other roads such as Lorong Chembol, Lorong Keduang and Lorong Puyu had long completely disappeared into history, while part of Lorong Kebasi (where the former Yew Tee Community Centre once stood) and Lorong Limbang (which gave rise to the naming of Limbang, one of the neigbourhoods at Choa Chu Kang North) were absorbed into the restricted premises of Kranji Camp.

lorong bistari1

lorong bistari2

Choa Chu Kang was a different picture in the sixties and seventies, where pig, poultry and vegetable farms were abundant. On the opposite side of Woodlands Road, there were granite mills and crushing plants for the Mandai Quarry, providing ample job opportunities for the villagers living in the vicinity. At Lorong Bistari, small businesses such as hardware shops and sawmills lined up along the road; Guan Seng, one of the sawmills, was destroyed in a fire in 1973. An estimated 150 tons of wooden planks and boards, reported to be worth $80,000, were consumed by the flames.

guan seng sawmill at lorong bistari destroyed in fire 1973

The Jurong Town Corporation (JTC) started developing a small light industrial estate at Choa Chu Kang North in the early eighties. It was named Yew Tee Industrial Estate, and was made up of rows of double-storey terrace workshops built in the area bounded by Woodlands Road, Stagmont Ring, the railway tracks and Peng Sua Canal. To boost the industry, parcels of vacant lands near Lorong Bistari, between 30,000 and 60,000 square feet, were made available for lease to small factories.

stagmont ring 1977

The Choa Chu Kang New Town was developed in the late eighties. By 1991, as many as 35,000 housing units were ready. However, Choa Chu Kang North, or Yew Tee, was not yet developed as a residential district, even though main roads such as Choa Chu Kang Way were already laid by the late eighties. It was only after the completion and opening of Yew Tee MRT Station in 1996 that the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) decided to carry out its Development Guide Plan to transform Choa Chu Kang North into a modern new town.

choa chu kang new town 1992

To provide a greater ease of accessibility to the new town, a new expressway called Kranji Expressway (KJE) was constructed in the early nineties, linking Choa Chu Kang, Bukit Panjang and Bukit Batok to both the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) and Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE). Part of the original Stagmont Ring was used as a section of KJE that cut through Choa Chu Kang and split it into northern and southern portions. It took a total of $128 million and four years for KJE to be fully operational ready in 1994.

lorong bistari3

Published: 20 April 2015

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7 Responses to Remnants of Singapore’s Lost Roads – Lorong Bistari

  1. Dennis Gordon says:

    There was once a two way traffic road named ‘Persiaran Keliling’. Now its forgotten and its a one way street named Circuit Road.

  2. Dennis Gordon says:

    Anyone with articles or photographs of Bidadari Cemetery, Fort Canning Cemetery or any other old cemeteries in Singapore? (Heard there was one around Newton or Novena)

  3. Guardsman says:

    This old road was used by those in 3rd Guards, 7SIB and Kranji Ammo Dump until the guardsman shifted to a new building in Bedok camp in 1999. Had many fond memories walking this road as I was poor couldn’t afford taxi, just walk from Yew Tee MRT to camp. Some nice mates driving or taking a cab in would asked me to hop in along that stretch of road. A few times while booking in before 2359, could find cars with couple making out. The road was pretty dark at night.

  4. diahputri52 says:

    Nice gan. Lor Bistari’s good picture as you can

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